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2013年7月22日 (月)

13参院選 きょう投票 日本の「針路」見据えた選択を

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 22, 2013
Keep Japan’s future in mind when voting in upper house poll
13参院選 きょう投票 日本の「針路」見据えた選択を(7月21日付・読売社説)

 ◆政治と経済を再活性化させよう

Which parties and candidates show that they have solid plans and the competence to tackle the mountain of policy tasks facing the country at home and abroad? We shall cast our valuable ballots after carefully scrutinizing their opinions and track records.
 山積する内外の政策課題に取り組むための確かな処方箋と能力を持つ政党はどこか、候補者はだれか。各党・候補者の訴えや実績を吟味し、大切な1票を託す相手を選びたい。

Voting day has arrived for the 23rd House of Councillors election.
 第23回参院選がきょう、投票日を迎えた。

We must choose the parties and candidates we believe will guide Japan on the right course amid turbulent times in Asia and the rest of the world.
 世界とアジアの情勢が激動する中で、日本の誤りなき針路を見つけなければならない。

 ◆ねじれの解消が焦点だ

The vitality of the private sector must be drawn out to put the economy back on a stable recovery track. The nation’s social security system must be redesigned to become sustainable with the declining population. Also, a diplomatic strategy for pursuing this country’s national interests must be mapped out and implemented.
 民間活力を引き出し、景気を安定した回復軌道に乗せる。人口減社会を乗り切れる社会保障制度を再設計する。国益を追求する外交戦略を練り、実行に移す。

To realize these goals, it is essential that the political sphere be revitalized. The focus of this upper house election is whether the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, New Komeito, can end the divided Diet by securing a majority.
 そのためには、日本政治を再活性化させることが欠かせない。
 参院選は、自民、公明両党が衆参ねじれ状況を解消できるかどうかが最大の焦点である。

Divided Diet resolution key

Due to the divided Diet, in which the ruling bloc lacks a majority in the upper house, it is difficult to pass important bills without cooperation from opposition parties. We can understand why the ruling coalition has given priority to ending the divided Diet in this election.
 ねじれ国会では、野党の協力なしでは、重要法案を成立させることが難しい。与党がねじれ解消を最優先するのは理解できる。

“The end of the divided Diet will let the ruling coalition parties run wild,” officials of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan said. It is true that the creation of the divided Diet as a result of the 2010 upper house election prevented the then ruling DPJ-led government from freely exercising its will.
 民主党は「ねじれの解消は与党の暴走につながる」と主張した。確かに、2010年参院選で衆参ねじれが生じたことは、当時の民主党政権の暴走に「歯止め」をかけることにつながった。

If the divided Diet is resolved in this election, it might be partly due to the fact that voters do not look positively on the brakes that have been put on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government in the upper house by opposition parties, including the DPJ.
 今回、ねじれが解消されるとしたら、民主党など野党が参院でかけてきた安倍政権に対する「歯止め」が有権者に評価されなかったことが一因と言えよう。

The DPJ suffered a series of crushing defeats in the latest House of Representatives and Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections. The upper house vote will presumably decide this party’s fate. However, the DPJ is still caught in a backdraft as a result of policy missteps it made during its reign.
 民主党は、衆院選、東京都議選と続けて大敗し、参院選は「党存亡をかけた戦い」となる。だが、依然として、政権担当時の失政による逆風を受けている。

Cooperation among opposition parties in the Diet and the reorganization of the political world in the future will certainly be affected by the rise or fall of smaller parties in the upper house vote, including so-called third force parties Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party, as well as the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party.
 第3極の日本維新の会、みんなの党や、共産、社民両党などを含む、各党の参院選での消長は、国会での野党連携のあり方や、将来の政界再編にも影響しよう。

In deciding which party or candidate to vote for, voters should first evaluate the achievements of the Abe administration.
 投票の判断材料とすべきは、まず安倍政権の実績への評価だ。

Responsible nuclear policy
 ◆責任ある原発政策は

As a result of monetary easing and fiscal actions taken under the Abe administration’s so-called Abenomics economic policies, the yen’s excessive appreciation has been corrected, stock prices have gone up and business sentiment has improved.
 経済政策「アベノミクス」による金融緩和や財政出動の結果、円高是正、株価上昇に加え、企業の景況感も改善してきた。

Besides that, the government has decided to participate in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. To what extent Japan’s late entry into the talks can be compensated for will depend on the government’s ability to negotiate.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)交渉への参加も決断した。出遅れをどう挽回するかは、今後の政府の交渉力にかかっている。

The DPJ has ramped up its criticism of the adverse effects of Abenomics, such as a rise in prices, while Ishin no Kai and Your Party have expressed support for Abenomics and stressed the need for a drastic easing of regulations.
 民主党は、物価上昇などアベノミクスの「副作用」批判を強めた。維新の会やみんなの党は、アベノミクスを支持しつつ、より大胆な規制緩和の必要性を強調した。

While the opposition parties make some valid points in their claims, we find it regrettable that they have failed to deepen discussions on specific economic measures.
 野党の主張にも一理あるが、具体策に関する経済論戦が深まらなかったのは残念である。

The dearth of such talks was not limited to economic policy issues.
 それは経済政策に限らない。

It is undeniable that the parties shied away from incorporating clear-cut numerical targets and details of budgetary measures for securing revenue sources into their election pledges. This apparently was due to the debacle of the DPJ’s unrealistic platform for the 2009 general election, resulting in lethargic campaigns.
 民主党の非現実的な09年政権公約(マニフェスト)の失敗を踏まえ、各党が公約に数値目標や財源の明示を避けたことが論争を物足りなくした面がある。

The parties even seem to have failed to place due importance on the content of their election pledges. It was symbolic in this respect that the LDP and Komeito did not coordinate their election pledges in the running of their ruling coalition.
 公約自体が重視されなくなっている。自公両党が連立政権の共通公約を見送ったのは象徴的だ。

Regarding what is desirable for the nation’s energy policy, empty arguments touting an end to nuclear power generation were rampant in the run-up to the election.
 エネルギー政策でも、空疎な脱原発論が横行した。

Only the LDP touched the heart of the issue of restarting reactors if their safety is confirmed, stressing that the government will “make the maximum effort” to obtain understanding on the matter from local entities concerned.
 自民党だけは、安全が確認された原発の再稼働について、関係自治体の理解を得るよう政府が「最大限努力する」と踏み込んだ。

The DPJ and Ishin no Kai adopted slogans of reducing to zero the nation’s nuclear power generation “in the 2030s.” The JCP, PLP and the SDP, meanwhile, strongly insisted that a restart of the country’s nuclear reactors should never be permitted.
 民主党と維新の会は「2030年代」の原発稼働ゼロを掲げた。共産、生活、社民の各党は再稼働を一切認めないという。

As long as the parties continue calling for breaking away from nuclear power generation, such arguments should be condemned as irresponsible unless their insistence is coupled with such issues as securing energy alternatives to nuclear power and measures to address the massive increase in fuel costs for thermal power generation.
 脱原発を唱えるなら、代替エネルギーの確保策や火力発電の燃料コスト大幅増の問題と合わせて論じなければ、無責任だろう。

On the diplomatic front, the Abe administration did much to turn around relations between Japan and the United States by pushing ahead with procedures for relocating the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to the Henoko district in Nago in the prefecture. The Abe Cabinet, on the other hand, has yet to set up summit meetings with China and South Korea, drawing fire from the opposition camp.
 外交面で安倍政権は、米軍普天間飛行場の辺野古移設の手続きを進め、日米関係を立て直した。一方、中国、韓国と首脳会談が開けず、野党の批判を受けている。

With Japan’s security environment becoming increasingly precarious, voters must decide with a measure of vigilance which party makes the best argument.
 日本の安全保障環境が厳しくなる中で、どの党の主張が適切なのか、しっかりと見極めたい。

Constitutional revision
 ◆憲法改正も判断材料に

The issue of revising the Constitution was also a point of contention in the electoral battle.
 憲法改正も論点となった。

Among the major issues were the wisdom of easing the requirements for the Diet to initiate Constitutional revisions; clarification of the constitutional status of the Self-Defense Forces; the addition of stipulations concerning new concepts of human rights such as the right to a good living environment; and the advisability of reviewing the structure of the government as a whole, including the introduction of a so-called doshu system for reorganizing prefectures into larger regional government units.
改正の発議要件の緩和や、自衛隊の存在の明記、環境権など新たな権利の追加、道州制の導入といった統治機構の見直しなどである。

These issues, along with weighing the pros and cons of changes in the government’s interpretation of the Constitution regarding the right to collective self-defense, will undoubtedly be highly significant political tasks after the upper house contest.
 集団的自衛権の憲法解釈の見直しと合わせて、参院選後に重要な政治課題となるのは確実だ。

The weighing of each party’s vision of a “new, desirable shape of this country” should also help voters decide who they should vote for.
 各党がどんな「新しい国のかたち」を描いているかを比較することも、投票の参考になろう。

A ban on Internet use for campaigning was lifted ahead of this election. This increased the ability of parties and candidates to convey information to voters, which likely helped generate greater interest in the election among young people.
 今回、インターネットを利用した選挙運動が解禁された。政党・候補者の情報発信手段が増え、若者などの関心を高めるうえで一定の効果があったのではないか。

Voter turnout in the five previous upper house races was just over 55 percent.
 過去5回の参院選の投票率は、50%台後半にとどまっている。

Politics can never be changed as long as voters only criticize political parties and politicians. Eligible voters are responsible for exercising their right to vote by going to the polls.
 政党や政治家を批判するだけでは政治は変わらない。投票所に足を運び、自らの選挙権を行使する。それが有権者の責任である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 21, 2013)
(2013年7月21日01時27分  読売新聞)

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